Part 2: On Anthropology, Inspiration from Haiti

While planning the relief event, I could not see the magnitude of our efforts – I was simply too busy. The total weigh-in of donations was undoubtedly impressive, but with no prior experience in planning disaster relief events, I pondered how I acted so quickly and without reservation. It was difficult to see where my […]

Part 1: On Anthropology, Inspiration from Haiti

While trained as a cultural anthropologist, I also work within linguistics and have worked as an archaeologist. This freedom to be more holistic in my research is, I feel, one of anthropology’s strongest attractions. Combining this with anthropology’s hands-on field research with Native American communities, I find it immensely meaningful to teach anthropology in the […]

the hardness of life and the laziness of some thinkers

Still ranting about our naivete in the face of Haitian poverty.  One of my good friends was telling me about a story she’d heard where a woman was being treated on the USS Comfort for two legs and an arm all of which needed to be amputated.  Now that medical ethics have caught up at […]


Where do I even begin to explain what I’m thinking and feeling about how children are appearing in the coverage, being responded to on the ground, and what’s actually happening to kids in Haiti?  When I’m feeling sour (like right now) I think, well, Haitians don’t have pets so unlike Katrina where we covered all […]

Up close and personal, or maybe not

At the moment I’ m being a little dumbfounded at what strikes me as a generalized lack of interest in actual Haitians, and a huge interest in imaginary Haitians.  The objectification thing.  There are a ton of events going on here in Los Angeles, each put on and designed for its particular micro-selection of the […]

Whose crisis is it anyway?

At my daughter’s ballet class the other day, I got talking with one of the moms about Haiti.  She was telling me about some people at her church, people who go often out of the country and do volunteering and stuff, and what she said, basically, was that in Haiti, they’re not being helpful to […]

3 Haitian Women’s Rights Leaders Dead

Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan, founders of three of Haiti’s most important women and girl’s advocacy groups, are confirmed dead in the aftermath of the recent Haiti earthquake. Myriam Merlet was until recently chief of staff of Haiti’s Ministry for Gender and the Rights of Women and continued to serve as a […]

Haitians, ever fastidious even in crisis

Have you noticed how incredibly clean everybody looks in the footage on Haiti?  The only people who appear unkempt, on the whole, are the foreign reporters.  Well that’s an exaggeration of course, but not much of one.  Really — look closely at just about any picture or video from the earthquake aftermath and all the […]

ports, containers, shipping

*Elizabeth Chin is an anthropologist who has studied Haitian Folklore dance for over 20 years, both in the US and in Haiti. Currently a professor at Occidental College, she has been spending time in Haiti since 1993, sometimes doing fieldwork and sometimes not. She will return to Haiti in May to assist with the relief […]

Partners in Health – Stand with Haiti

Click here for the original Boston Globe article about Partners in Health accompanying this video. Check out Partners in Health’s website – – for updated news and information on how you can support those affected by the recent earthquake. Partners in Health is co-founded by anthropologist-physician Paul Farmer. From their website, in their own […]